Good thing it's secretly a really bad card, just like Imperial Seal.
I don't know a lot of really bad cards (especially lands) that single-handily win the game against more than 50% of the field on their own at such a low investment cost.
50% how scientific.
@Topical_Island Its why I pretty much only play on Cockatrice nowadays, even though I can 10 proxy almost anything. Here there is no vintage scene and legacy is sinking like a stone. As I mentioned in the "Riders on the Storm" thread, I'm really enjoying FFG's LCG model because everyone has access to the same stuff. It's your deckbuilding and playskill that matter, not your pocket book. Yet there is still an ability to add some flair to your deck through their alternate full art cards.
Fantasy Flight Games releases their card games under a "Living Card Game" model. The releases are all predetermined. Other than the initial box set which is designed to also be played as a stand alone game, all packs and expansions are sold with the complete number of cards you need, usually 3. The newest set has a mechanic that allows you to put 6 of particular card in your deck, so the monthly pack comes with 6 copies.
The collectability aspect of the game is what I dislike the most about Magic. That is the main thing that has stopped me from investing in MTGO. The other thing is the interface that creates its own issues. Cockatrice is much easier to work with, and I can customize my own interface for it now with the new releases. If Wizards created something similar to Cockatrice I'd be all over it. Instead of paying for packs, make it a monthly subscription model. You get access to all the cards when you subscribe, and when a set it released you have access to all the cards to design with. Prizes would be special avatars or custom art for cards. If you stop paying, you can't play, but your prizes are still linked to your account in case you decide to resubscribe.
@Topical_Island Yes, the price (or accessibility) of cards is probably an obstacle to growth and is the one complaint that unites nearly everyone in the game. But what I have come to realise more and more is that this is the fundamental paradox of MTG - we play a trading/collectible card game and for many people (myself included) a big, big part of the enjoyment comes from acquiring new cards and having a 'wish list' of cards that I hope to add to my collection in the near(ish) future, knowing that I will then just end up lusting after newer, more desirable cards. Without this trading and collecting aspect I don't think MTG would ever have been as successful as it has been, so in a sense the inaccessibility is baked in.
So if by 'this otherwise amazing game' you mean vintage, which I assume you do, then yes, you are right. But it's my view that for MTG in general the inaccessibility is probably a net driver of growth. Maybe this will shift as the culture becomes more driven by online play and less by physical cards, but I think WOTC are aware of this and are doing everything they can to prevent the paper game from declining.
At least the Pokemon people were up front enough to make it their slogan - 'gotta catch 'em all'!
The inaccessibility initially was never due to a price tag, it was due to the built in scarcity of the cards. The internet kind of broke that aspect of the game. I remember buying packs of Revised, Arabian Nights and Antiquties from my local Microplay (A preEB game store chain in Ontario), in 94, and we had no access to buying singles and trading on the level we have today. We can get any card we want thanks to the net, if we are willing to pay. Back then, you had access to what your playgroup had, or whatever the local stores had from what they opened.
@Ked That is a really good post, and thank you. (That's usually the sort of thing someone says on here before they disagree with you, but I really do mean it.) But I disagree with you about the net driver of growth part. I think Magic, vintage magic, is such a good game that it can stand on it's own like Chess does. I really think it's that good.
I do mean Vintage when I say, an otherwise amazing game. I think the card hoarding that goes on is terrible. Just terrible. It cuts against everything else that I see as good about this game.
As for the rest of your post, thank you again. I also love getting new cards. I don't think that is ever going away. If ever tourney in the world we unlimited proxy, I would still want a Black Lotus. I just went to an unlimited proxy tourney, and a Landstill player won the thing with perhaps the most gorgeous deck I've ever seen. Just about every card was foil, or beta, or altered. The Library of Alexandria was probably the prettiest card in the room. Just look at altering and foils... they aren't better than other cards in terms of gameplay, yet people crave them anyway. Hoarding is not necessary to create the desire in people for what is rare and beautiful. That will always exist. In the mean time lets let new people into the game.
@Topical_Island Thanks for your response. I completely share your sentiments about wanting to get more people into Vintage. I also absolutely agree that Magic can stand on its own like chess in terms of gameplay. I have played a little bit of chess and although I enjoy it I would never play it over Magic given a choice between the two. But is chess 'growing' in any real sense these days? Maybe it is, but certainly not enough to satisfy a commercial gaming outfit like WOTC. Perhaps vintage is the chess of the Magic world - a format with a metagame that (usually) shifts slowly over time and that rewards technical mastery and sound theoretical understanding.
It seems to me that WOTC's business model is based on making it as easy as possible for people to start playing Magic with the unspoken assumption that there will always be cards/decks/formats that are relatively inaccessible for various reasons and that this is something that keeps people coming back for more. So while I absolutely agree with you about the strength of its gameplay I just think that too many people are unwilling to acknowledge that a huge part of the success of Magic is because it was the first collectible card game.
I guess this leads to a few questions (I don't have the answers to these, I'm genuinely curious to hear what you think): what is the relationship between growth in the broader MTG player base and the growth of vintage? How do people get into vintage specifically? Is it more to do with the gameplay or the allure of playing with older/more exclusive and therefore more desirable cards? If WOTC went bust tomorrow and stopped printing new cards would MTG become more like chess? Would Magic as a whole look more like Vintage does now? And would card accessibility become better or worse?